By Haley Shapley on Aug 21, 2013

How to Avoid Greenwashing

As consciousness has risen when it comes to the health of the environment, businesses have responded en masse by offering more eco-friendly products, services and policies — or at least, they say they have.

Greenwashing is a term used for companies that claim to be — but in reality are not — acting in an environmentally responsible way. It was first used in print by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 in reference to hotels that encouraged guests to reuse towels to benefit the Earth but that in turn didn't recycle if it didn't save money.

A whopping 95 percent of products are greenwashed. So how can you tell what's real and what's not? Here, TerraChoice Environmental Marketing (now part of UL) offers some tips, along with a handy primer on just what to be on the lookout for:

Greenwashing Infographic

Haley Shapley

I'm passionate about travel, reading, and riding roller coasters, and I've never met a competition I didn't want to win (except for those extreme eating ones). I also enjoy board games and am a master googler. I'm currently training to summit Mt. Rainier, which is not as much fun as any of the aforementioned activities.

Related articles

The best picks from all our categories, ready for you to read instantly.


The newest and guilt free products that will help save the enviornment.